Stakeholders Discuss End-of-Life Care, Assess Need for Legislative or Regulatory Initiatives

POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment), a medical form designed to complement, but not replace, an advanced directive, clearly has value in helping to ensure that patients receive the end-of-life care they want and that their wishes are followed.

However, enacting a standardized, statewide end-of-life form—already in place in 15 other states—has become politicized in Pennsylvania, partly due to a long history of debate over the state’s role in end-of- life care. There is also a question of where the form should be housed, and whether legislative or regulatory initiatives are necessary to address these issues.

Recognizing the value of the form as well as the confusion among providers about its use, PAMED has launched a project to facilitate meetings of a group of stakeholders, including member physicians, to discuss the problem and assess the need for legislative or regulatory initiatives. Read an update from the July 30 meeting.

Daniel Kimball, Jr., MD, a primary care physician and PAMED board member from Berks County, is leading the project.

Along with many other medical professional organizations, PAMED strongly supports the existence of a POLST program and is working toward finding a “proper home” for the form in Pennsylvania.

Read background information by Scot Chadwick, PAMED’s vice president of governmental affairs, in our Weekly Capitol Update blog.